Millions of Americans visit online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soulmate.But as Valentine’s Day gets closer, the FBI wants to warn you that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through a variety of scams..• Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust.
According to recent figures, these requests for cash appear to be working.
There were 651 dating scams reported in the three months to August this year, with the average victim paying out £9,589.
The online dating websites say there is little they can do to restrict this type of fraud.
A spokesman for Match.com, Britain's most well-known dating site, said people should apply the same common sense as if in a bar or a pub.
Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction.
Mr Cole told Ms Parke that he was a widower and that he had moved to Britain with his young daughter, Maureen.
He said that while abroad on business, his daughter had been injured in a hit and run accident and he required £9,600 for the operation in hospital.
In order to release it they claim they have to pay a customs release fee – which is then requested from the victim." Online dating scams are nothing new, but they are on the rise.
From April 2013 to March 2014, there were 2,037 cases of dating scams reported to Action Fraud, with the 651 scams over the summer marking an acceleration.
"My embarrassment is overwhelming but I feel that I must take this step in reporting my experience in order to help promote awareness and to help other innocents to avoid such devastating situations," she added.